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Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Flight Training Edition, Vol. 7, Issue 34

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Volume 7, Issue 34 • August 24, 2007

I n this issue:
ERAU earns a top 'U.S. News' college ranking
Purdue team creates 'serious' aeronautics game
Opportunities abound for students, CFIs at Expo

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Training Tips

Busy airports bring to mind traffic patterns brimming with aircraft, rapid radio transmissions, and continuous takeoffs and landings. Less obvious are the effects that bustling airports have on a pilot as a flight begins, especially if your training usually occurs at a quiet airport or if you have experienced a single airport's operating methods.

Starting right at the hangar or tiedown spot, heavy traffic highlights a pilot's safety awareness. Fuel trucks, other ground vehicles, line crewmembers, aircraft passengers, or other pedestrians will likely be nearby. Give the area careful scrutiny. Don't content yourself with shouting the traditional "Prop clear!" before turning the key. "Did you happen to look behind the airplane before you strapped in? What's behind the tail? If you want to become the airport's most despised citizen, make a habit of ignoring whoever or whatever is behind you when you start the engine," Budd Davisson wrote in the October 2000 AOPA Flight Training etiquette discussion "Listen to your mother: She taught you to be a good pilot."

Looking down the taxiway at a long departure line or a packed run-up area may tempt you to get an early start on the pretakeoff checklist. Don't--that's distraction and the stuff mishaps are made of. "The only items that should be checked while taxiing are the brakes (the effectiveness of which should be determined before taxiing much farther than the length of your aircraft) and the indications of three instruments that can only be checked while the aircraft is in motion," Barry Schiff counseled in his "Proficient Pilot" column in the January 2003 AOPA Pilot.

Position your aircraft thoughtfully inside the run-up area, letting others come and go conveniently. When you call the tower and declare yourself ready for takeoff, be truly ready! No dawdling or fiddling with instruments and radios out there. Listen for words like "immediate" or "expedite" in your clearance. (Check out the advice and links provided in the May 26, 2006, Training Tips article "What did that mean?") After liftoff, be ready to fly an assigned heading or make an early turn away from the departure course. (Review wake turbulence avoidance in the January 24, 2003, Training Tips.)

Performing pilot chores swiftly, without cutting corners, is the plan when the airport rush is on.

Your Partner in Training

The key to a good preflight is to understand what you are checking and why you are checking it. One overlooked switch (such as a boost pump) can make the difference between safety and disaster. The presolo flying skills section of AOPA Flight Training Online explains how proper preflighting will help you leave potential problems on the ground. If you still have questions, call the Pilot Information Center (800/USA-AOPA) weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. Eastern.

As an AOPA Flight Training Member, you have access to all of the features within AOPA Online and AOPA Flight Training Online. Login information is available online.

Flight Training News

Once again, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University has earned a top ranking in the U.S. News & World Report's annual "America's Best Colleges" guide. Embry-Riddle's Daytona Beach, Fla., campus took first place in the specialty category of "aerospace/aeronautical/astronautical engineering programs" at schools where the highest degree is a master's. The U.S. Air Force Academy placed second, and Embry-Riddle's Prescott, Ariz., campus placed third in that category.

A new flight school specializing in sport pilot training has opened at Lancaster Airport in Lancaster, Pa. Adventure Flight Training is part of the Liberty Aviation Management group of businesses based at Lancaster, which also includes Liberty Sport Aviation, a distributor of the Evektor SportStar and the Flight Design CT.

The job training program for high school students in Ventura County, Calif., will offer an aviation curriculum this fall. The program will be taught in the Ventura County Regional Occupational Program Center at Camarillo Airport, according to the Ventura County Star. The aviation program covers such topics as aircraft maintenance, airport security, aerodynamics, and airport operations. Students also will have an opportunity to prepare for the private pilot knowledge test. "We are really hoping to tap into students' interests" with the new program, said Peggy Velarde, director of career and technical education for the county office of education. "There is a lot of math and science involved in these classes, and we really want to help to enhance their skills through the curriculum."

Three Purdue University professors are revising a School of Aeronautics and Astronautics course as a multiplayer online "serious" game. The project collaborators say that taking what is usually a traditional classroom lecture and making it a virtual experience will help students develop the skills they would need on the job. The three submitted the winning proposal in a faculty competition to develop a serious gaming curriculum for an existing class. They'll have a prototype of the serious game by summer 2008 and introduce it as a credit course in fall 2009. The course objectives will remain the same, but in the gaming format, students will form design teams of five or six members each. Half the teams will design rockets, and the other half will design airplanes. The teams will then compete to sell their designs to each other.

Inside AOPA

Summer may be winding down, but it's no time to let down your guard when it comes to thunderstorms. Test your knowledge on the stages of thunderstorms, how to avoid them, and what to do if you get caught in one with the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's "Thunderstorm: Weather Theory Safety Quiz." Plus, you can earn a chance to win a Sporty's Air-Scan V Aviation Radio/Scanner. Challenge yourself with another Safety Quiz topic in the "Previous Quizzes" section.

Students and instructors: Are you planning to attend AOPA Expo 2007 in Hartford, Conn., from October 4 through 6? Wayne Phillips, AOPA Flight Training's careers columnist, will talk about flying careers—including the current hiring outlook and strategies to help you land the flying job you want—during Career Pilot Live on Saturday, October 6, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. in Room 13 of the Connecticut Convention Center. If you're a ground or flight instructor, plan to participate in AOPA Flight Training's annual CFI Roundtable on Saturday, October 6, from 11 a.m. to noon in the Marriott Hartford's Capital 1 room. Discussion topics will include technically advanced aircraft, light sport aircraft, and AOPA's Project Pilot. Never been to Expo? View the multimedia presentation, "AOPA Expo through student pilots' eyes." Pre-register for Expo before September 12 and save up to 28 percent!

We flew the 1977 Cessna Cardinal that AOPA is refurbishing to Alva, Okla., for shops to install a brand-new interior. When you think of an airplane's interior, perhaps you envision leather seats, new carpet, and attractive trim. But the Cardinal also features more plastic interior pieces than most general aviation aircraft—and it's all going to be new! Learn about the plastic-forming process in this week's Catch-A-Cardinal update.

AOPA Project Pilot student Jack Oliver finally had a chance to meet his mentor Malinda Caywood for the first time when he passed his checkride in June. Throughout his flight training, staying in touch via e-mail was easy and accommodated their busy schedules. "Malinda was a great sounding board and cheerleader and was instrumental in keeping me motivated to finish my private pilot license," said Oliver, who plans on getting his instrument rating. Find valuable resources at AOPA Project Pilot and perhaps even a mentor who will encourage and help you pursue your dream to fly.

To make the most of your membership and allow us to serve you better, please visit AOPA Online and update your personal member profile.

Training Products

Since the online logbook program AvJournal was launched a year ago, PrizeFlight President and AOPA member Adam Bell reports that the program has undergone a series of upgrades and new features based on feedback from users. Among the changes: an import feature that allows pilots who have been tracking flight time in a Microsoft Excel file or other logbook application to upload that data quickly and easily into AvJournal. The aircraft profile function has been improved: "We weren't too friendly to the helicopter and glider pilots. Now most any aircraft should be able to be defined, and users can report on flight data many different ways," Bell says. A tailwheel currency item has been added to the currency notification and settings, and a warning label is now displayed when a currency item is set to expire within 30 days. A monthly subscription to the program is $3.95; a year's subscription is $39.95. AOPA members can get a 25-percent discount off the yearlong subscription by entering the coupon code SECUREIT.

Note: Products listed have not been evaluated by ePilot editors unless otherwise noted. AOPA assumes no responsibility for products or services listed or for claims or actions by manufacturers or vendors.

Final Exam

Question: I've noticed that a few airports in my area have a parachute symbol depicted. Other than just monitoring the local airport frequency/common traffic advisory frequency when flying within a parachute operations area, how can I find more details about the jump operations before making my flight?

Answer: The FAA's Airport/Facility Directory lists parachute jumping areas by state. Each listing provides the jump location, distance, and radial from the nearest VOR/vortac; maximum altitude for the jump zone; and relevant remarks. Typically jump activity is busiest on weekends and holidays, but jumps can occur anytime during the week. FAR Part 105 provides guidance and outlines the requirements of parachute operations. In order for parachute jump areas to be depicted on navigational charts, they must have been in operation for at least one year, operate year-round (at least on weekends), and have logged 4,000 or more jumps each year. Read more in the AOPA Flight Training magazine article "Jumpers Away."

Got a question for our technical services staff? E-mail to [email protected] or call the Pilot Information Center, 800/872-2672. Don't forget the online archive of "Final Exam" questions and answers, searchable by keyword or topic.

Picture Perfect
Looking for some really fabulous aviation photography? All the air-to-air photos and beautifully detailed ground images used by AOPA Pilot magazine over the years are yours at the click of a mouse button. Download your favorite images to use for wallpaper, send an e-postcard, or order prints online. For more details, see AOPA Online.

What's New Online

"Bob Feher's long road to a major airline was a bumpy one filled with sacrifice and determination. And with the help of a few key players, this blue-collar boy from Connecticut realized his dream to fly," writes Pete Bedell in an AOPA Career Pilot Success Story. Learn how 33-year-old Feher climbed the ladder to become a first officer on a Boeing 777.

Weekend Weather
See the current weather on AOPA Online, provided by Meteorlogix.

ePilot Calendar

Lumberton, NJ. The Ninth Annual Kathy Jaffe Challenge takes place August 24 through 26 at Flying W (N14). Contact Ron Chadwick, 732/671-6089, or visit the Web site.

Indianapolis, IN. The Indianapolis Airshow takes place August 25 and 26 at Mount Comfort (MQJ). Contact Pat Robertson, 317/335-3371.

Kansas City, MO. The Kansas City Aviation Expo and Airshow take place August 25 and 26 at Charles B. Wheeler Downtown (MKC). Contact Ed Noyallis, 816/289-7218, or visit the Web site.

South Lake Tahoe, CA. The Eighteenth Annual Lake in the Sky Airshow takes place August 25 at Lake Tahoe (TVL). Contact Krista Eissinger, 530/541-0480, or visit the Web site.

Eugene, OR. The Norwest Fly-Fest 2007 General Aviation Expo and Airshow takes place August 25 and 26 at Mahlon Sweet Field (EUG). Contact Phil Groshong, 541/682-5063, or visit the Web site.

Dayton, OH. A Giant-Scale Radio-Controlled Model Aircraft Air Show takes place August 31 through September 2 at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. Contact Sarah Swan, 937/255-3286, or visit the Web site.

Chico, CA. Chico AirFest 2007 takes place August 31 and September 1 at Chico Municipal (CIC). Contact Gayle Womack, Chico Chamber of Commerce, 530/891-5556, or visit the Web site.

Galesburg, IL. The thirty-sixth annual National Stearman Fly-In takes place September 3 through 9 at Galesburg Municipal (GBG). Contact Betty Campbell, 309/343-6409, or visit the Web site.

To submit an event to the calendar or to search all events visit AOPA Online. For airport details, including FBO fuel prices, see AOPA's Airport Directory Online.

The next AOPA Air Safety Foundation Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics are scheduled in Sacramento, CA; and Colorado Springs, CO, September 8 and 9. Clinics are also scheduled in Phoenix, Baltimore, and Seattle, September 15 and 16. For a complete schedule, see AOPA Online. Can't make it in person? Sign up for the CFI Refresher Online.

AOPA Air Safety Foundation Safety Seminars are scheduled in Atlanta, Morristown, NJ; King of Prussia, PA; and Germantown, TN, September 10; East Windsor, CT; Bethlehem, PA; and Nashville, TN, September 11; Billerica, MA; and New Cumberland, PA, September 12; and Manchester, NH; Pittsburgh; and Alcoa, TN, September 13. The topic is "Regulations: What every pilot should know." For details and a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.

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